Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seizing the Day

Today, I threw out my list and took the boys to the zoo. Lately (as I previously posted), life has been so busy and I feel like the boys haven't had much of my time. It was a good decision. It's a beautiful day (though hot!)! We had a great time and they had lots of my attention. They really loved the Oceans exhibit and ran from window to window pointing, laughing, and talking.

It's easy to let everything else in my life crowd out family time - I may be home but too busy to spend time with them. So today, I decided that it's all about the kids. After their naps, we'll go outside and have popsicles and swim in the pool. My house is a mess and I still have a few cheesecakes to bake but it will all have to wait - my family comes first! I need it and they need it. So, I challenge you to seize the day, throw out the list, and be spontaneous - you won't regret it!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Busy, Busy

We had a great experience at the Shriner's hospital last week - you can read about it on the boys' blog! We've been super busy with our trip to Chicago, making cheesecakes, Patrick's birthday, work, etc. but I have some posts rattling around in my head. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post something longer before too many more days pass. For now, this will have to suffice. :)

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Today is Patrick's 2nd birthday - the 1st we have the privilege of celebrating with him! He is such a delight! We are so incredibly thankful that he is part of our family. Patrick is growing and changing so much - we are especially enjoying all the new words he is learning. We think of his birthmom today with gratitude and love - she has given us the most wonderful gift in the world! When we remember all that transpired this time last year, we know that God was at work in bringing Patrick into our family. He is absolutely the perfect little boy for us!

Patrick, we are so proud of the way you are growing and developing! We are so happy that you and Calvin are such good friends. You have such a sweet smile and loving disposition. We love all the cuddling, hugs, and kisses. You have brought so much joy to our lives! We can't imagine life without you. We pray that God will continue to work in your life and draw you to Himself. We love you SO much! Happy 2nd Birthday, son.

Patrick's Party

We had Patrick's birthday party yesterday and it was so much fun! We decided on a fire truck theme - we even had plastic fire hats courtesy of the fire department (they actually delivered them to our house!). We originally planned for an outside party but with all the rain earlier in the day, we decided to have most of it inside. It was beautiful outside by the time everyone arrived so we were still able to take advantage of the back yard! The boys' pool was popular with the kids along with blowing bubbles.

The birthday boy and Mommy!

Blowing bubbles - little kids and big kids. :)

James and the bubble mower.

Rachel sporting the cool fire hat!

The adorable fire truck cake my Mom decorated!

Blowing out the candle with a little help from Daddy.

Unfortunately we didn't get as many pictures as I wanted so this is just a few - we'll get more from the other photographers. :) Patrick was a happy camper and Calvin thought it was all about him. The menu was pizza (Patrick's favorite!), veggies & dip, watermelon, potato chips, hummus & pita chips, carrot cake, icecream, and popsicles. Patrick doesn't really like cake so we had popsicles in addition to cake since he LOVES them! He received many fun gifts - Calvin helped him unwrap them and play with them, of course. We were so glad to have our family and friends help us celebrate!

Chicago Update

We had a great trip to the Shriner's Hospital in Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday. We were very impressed with the hospital and the staff. There were about 9 other families also being seen - it was baby day so all the kids were under 5 and most were 3 or younger. We enjoyed meeting a couple of other adoptive families - one family was from IL and had three biological sons, were foster parents, and then adopted their beautiful little girl from China, they are hoping to adopt another child soon. All of the children were at various phases in their treatment - Calvin was the only child with an unrepaired lip. Most of the children were boys but there were a few girls. The families came from all over.

Calvin was so good for the many hours of appointments and waiting (we arrived at 8a.m. and left at 3p.m.). He was very friendly and made some new friends - I don't think any of you will be surprised to hear this. :) He saw a few nurses, nurse practioner, ENT, plastic surgeon, social worker, speech pathologist, psychologist, and audiologist.

We were thrilled that they decided to repair the palate and lip together in one surgery (instead of the two we were always told). He will also have ear tubes placed during that surgery due to fluid in his ears. He will be in surgery for 3-4 hours and spend the 1st night after surgery in the PICU. It will be a difficult 10 day recovery with arm restraints and syringe feeding. They required that Calvin have respiratory clearance before scheduling surgery but hopefully we will have a date by the end of this week - it will probably be quite soon since Calvin is high priority.

We are so thankful for their recognizing the issues with him getting older - we felt that our previous hospital did not take into acount his age and speech development. We have recently learned that we are not the only family that has been disappointed in this local hospital's cranio-facial department and the Shriner's speech pathologist was also aware of some of the problems.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers - we will keep you updated!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Experimenting with Echoes

Patrick really enjoys playing outside and lately has been shouting and then listening to hear it echo. He has tried various volumes and different words but he always stops to listen. It's so cute and you can see the sheer delight and wonder on his face as he hears his voice again!

Calvin: Technology & Tiger

Calvin tried out my ipod nano - kids and technology these days! I think he was listening to U2 and loved it - what sophisticated, great taste and a son after his Momma's heart!

Calvin taking care of his Tiger - he set Tiger in the chair and got the "food" for him. Too cute!

We head to the Shriner's Hospital this week and would appreciate prayers as we meet many people and make decisions regarding Calvin's care. We have been extremely impressed with the hospital so far. We are ready to have answers and a plan! Patrick will be staying behind which will be hard so please pray for him, too - this will be the first time he has been away from us for overnight and one of the few times he has been separated from Calvin for any length of time.

Garden Produce

I wrote just a little about our garden here but here's a picture of some of the yummy vegetables we've been enjoying!
The yellow pear tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes are my favorite. We love them cut in half and combined with fresh basil, fresh chives, balsamic vinegar, salt, & pepper! We also picked some jalapenos just today but haven't made any salsa yet - I'm a little nervous to work with them since having jalapeno hands for a few days last year. :) Anyway, it's awesome to see the vibrant colors and enjoy the wonderful fresh vegetables and herbs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Visiting Great-Grandma J.

My favorite picture! Calvin is so affectionate!

Wiggly Patrick! He did not want his picture taken! :)

They LOVE playing with all the fun toys - different then the ones we have at home!

Symphony on the Prairie

We had a wonderful time at Symphony on the Prairie last Friday. We went with a couple of my cousins and their families - we opted to leave the boys with a sitter since Andrew and I both had colds and didn't want to chase them around. We even had a table near the front courtesy of Conner Prairie. It was a blast - the food, fellowship, and music (of course!).

Sadly, the woman who graciously took our picture almost cut Toni out of the picture and must have shook the camera. Oh well - at least we got a picture. :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sleepless in Indy...

So, the past few nights, I have been struggling with insomnia. I think it is stress related but I really hate it! I just can't seem to go to sleep before at least 2 a.m. - my mind is going 100 miles even though my body is exhausted. I have always been a person that requires a lot of sleep so this is challenging my whole outlook on life. I'm praying this won't last and that I will rest in the Lord and have His peace.

1 Success...

This little boy had his 1st success going potty on his little potty! I think he was a little surprised but after lots of clapping and cheers and a few M&M's, I think he was kind of proud of himself. I'm not starting full-fledged potty training just trying to familiarize him with the process. :) Who knows, maybe he will be really into it.

Yes, I'm aware that many years from now when he reads this, he will be mortified that I reported on such a personal subject. To this I say, I just couldn't help but share this exciting news - sorry, son. :) Every little success for you is a success for me, too - I'm so proud of you! You are growing up!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shopping with Patrick

Today, I had some errands to run and Patrick was my shopping buddy. This made him feel very important as he waved goodbye to Daddy and Calvin. We chatted as we headed to the store - talking about cars and trucks and his upcoming birthday. I did most of the talking but he listened and chimed in from time to time with comments I didn't entirely understand.

Anyway, we were picking things out for his party and he saw Oreos on the shelf and made it quite clear to me that he wanted them. I handed him the package and he immediately put it in the cart. Now Patrick is not really into sweets, he would rather have chips and goldfish, but he seemed to think that he would like the Oreos. (Andrew can attest to this - Patrick was pretending to eat Oreos out of a picture book this week.) :)

We went to the toy department to find a little gift to put in his friends treat bags for his party. I found some little dinosaurs and asked him if he wanted to give them to his friends, he held the bag and looked at them. I then saw some little bottles of bubbles on the shelf and asked Patrick if he would like to give his friends the dinosaurs or the bubbles. He quickly handed me the dinosaurs and said excitedly, "BUBBLES!" I handed him the 6-pack, he admired it and promptly placed it right next to him in the cart as I handed him another pack - all the while saying, "bubbles, bubbles, bubbles." Throughout the rest of our shopping, he told me about the bubbles. He was so proud of them! He put them on the counter so we could pay for them and then made sure that they came home with us. He showed Daddy the bubbles and told him what they were.

Needless to say, after being so adorable and well behaved, he got his Oreos. And you know what? He's right, he does like Oreos. It's so fun that the boys are starting to talk! Patrick and I had such a great time laughing, talking, and shopping together!


I don't really think of myself as a picky eater. I love different ethnicities of foods and will try pretty much anything - this got me into a little trouble when I ate raw oysters once and had an allergic reaction. :) But I must say, okra is not good. The texture is slimy and disgusting and it changes the entire texture of whatever it is in...not in a good way.

I can tolerate okra if it is fried but even then, it just isn't a flavor I prefer - if I'm going to eat something fried, just give me some french fries or onion rings! Andrew, on the other hand, loves okra. So I try to occasionally buy it for him and even encouragaed him to plant some this year but it didn't make it (I'm secretly kind of glad but don't tell him, okay?).

I 'm usually a fan of vegetables but I've given this one a shot and I think I'll pass. Any okra fans out there?

Friday, July 13, 2007

On Being Brothers...

The boys have been really enjoying spending time together these days. Their favorite hangout spot is their playset but they are also playing and interacting (in general) so much more! It is a joy for us to watch. They are always concerned about where the other one is and what he is doing (yes, this includes tattling!). We are often asked if the boys are twins and then if they are biological brothers - we always respond that they are brothers through adoption but I'm seeing that no matter how they became brothers, they are brothers, period. It's great!


Andrew surprised me with a dozen of these beautiful roses earlier this week - they are so pretty!!!

This is our clematis that bloomed over the weekend - I love the vibrant purple color against our yellow house! My parents gave me the gorgeous trellis for against the chimney and the clematis is climbing it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Better Picture

Here is one of our favorite pictures (thanks to Papa J.!) - better than the snapshot from our camera.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Croup & Surgery

Well, Calvin has had a rough week. He was pretty healthy on Wednesday and most of Thursday but then came down with croup. Not fun for anyone - he has spent the past several nights in a pack-n-play in our room or sleeping with us. We think he is on the mend and we are hoping to get some good, uninterrupted sleep for all of us. Thankfully, he didn't get into serious breathing trouble. So far, Patrick has remained well - we are so grateful!

We have an update on surgery. After feeling very frustrated by the process at our current hospital, we learned that the Shriner's Hospital in Chicago has a cleft program. We applied at the end of June and Calvin was accepted within a few days; we have an appointment in a few weeks for him to be seen by their team of surgeons and other professionals. We have not cancelled the scheduled surgery but providing everything goes well, we plan to switch hospitals. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers - this has been a tremendously frustrating year trying to actually have a surgery!

Please do pray that Calvin will remain healthy. He has done really great until this last week and we hope that it was just a bad week!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blueberry Picking

We went blueberry picking yesterday and picked 27 lbs.! Calvin and Patrick tried to be helpful but mostly they entertained everyone and behaved themselves. We went up to Rensselaer where some of our family live. We spent time with my Grandparents and Aunt Janet. The berries are delicious and Patrick, especially, thought they were great!

Ready for picking!

Heading out to the area of the patch we picked!

"Helping" pick blueberries.

Saying good-bye to Great-Grandpa & Grandma after a wonderful
picnic lunch!

Worn out after so much work!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Children's Museum Picture

Here's a promised picture from our fun Children's Museum outing last Thursday! There were ten adults and eight children! We are so blessed to have such an awesome family and this represents just a few of us! :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Check out our celebration of the 4th on the boys' blog. We all enjoyed having a family day and enjoyed several 1sts (for the boys): going to a parade (the picture below was taken there), making ribs (this was a 1st for me, too - the boys' LOVED them!), and doing sparklers. Hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating and spending time with family and friends!

4th Family Picture

In honor of the boys' first 4th of July, we all wore Old Navy flag shirts and (of course) had to take a picture. This is just a snapshot - there are better ones to come. It was a wonderful family day and great celebration of our freedom!

Celebrating the 4th in Pictures

BROWNSBURG PARADE: The boys had a great time and even got the hang of picking up the candy that was thrown. Calvin loved the tractors and Patrick loved the trucks! We ran into our friends and neighbors, the Wiggins, and watched the parade with their group.

OUR BACKYARD BBQ: We made barbequed ribs, macaroni and cheese, steamed broccoli (from Grandma Falk's garden), and homemade icecream with blueberries & strawberries. The boys were very silly and enjoyed playing together and helping make the ice cream.

SPARKLERS: The boys had fun doing sparklers!

We finished our day with a movie, Shrek, the boys choice.